Regarding the Burton judgment about An Inconvenient Truth
I've watched the relevant scenes, and though I find the polar bear sequence a bit silly, I can find nothing whatsoever wrong with what Gore says in substance or in emphasis in eight of the nine cases.
The troublesome case is where Gore says:
"that's why the citizens of these Pacific nations have all had to evacuate to New Zealand"
There is certainly no case where all the inhabitants of a nation have evacuated, to date, although the prospect does not seem remote. This astonishing fact does not seem to faze the critics of the movie in the least.
Now, I'd like to point out that 'all' is a word used very commonly and casually in middle-south educated language. It is used for emphasis, not as a logical qualifier. Indeed in another scene, Gore in discussing ice albedo speaks of the reflection of "all of that energy, over 90%". It's used as a term of informal emphasis.
Arguably, there is some subset of Pacific Islanders who have 'all evacuated' in the loose, emphatic sense of 'all'. I can certainly imagine a context in which the statement, with a little slack for Gore's vernacular, would be reasonable.
That said, the sentence and the accompanying photograph seems spliced loosely into a discussion of sea level rise. It appears without context or preparation. It appears a sort of an orphan clip.
I blame bad film editing. We can't really know exactly what Mr Gore said about that matter from the context of the film, as it was almost certainly dropped in out of context. In at least that sense, it is an error in the film.
The polar bear case, it seems, can be argued.
The others are simply slam dunks in Gore's favor. Other than that out-of-context evacuation comment, I can see nothing wrong with what Mr. Gore said or how the film presented it.
Update: RealClimate comes to exactly the same conclusion I did.
The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.
- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)